E-3 vs EPL2 vs E-M5 and a puzzle with colour

Started May 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
alatchin
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Re: E-3 vs EPL2 et.al.
In reply to ROC124, May 23, 2013

ROC124 wrote:

I have the E-3 and EPL-2 and generally prefer the E-3 color rendition. However, one can calibrate the camera's color response any way you like, so the default color response shouldn't be a reason to select one camera over another. One of these days I will re-calibrate the EPL-2 to match.

The EPL-2 is the camera I usually use when wanting a final image with maximum detail. I have recently found, though, that I can match its apparent detail with the E-3  in prints with
Topaz Detail using only the Fine Detail slider at +3 to +10 and a 0.25 to 0.5 radius on the DeBlur tool. Fine Detail increases micro contrast which the EPL-2 already has in abundance. The DeBlur tool seems to counteract some of the softness of the E-3s heavier AA filter. I have NOT found the Topaz Detail software to produce much change that I like in the EPL-2 files. Sometimes I use it to soften the micro contrast slightly, as the EPL-2 can be a bit excessive. The EPL-2 still can show slightly more real detail, but the differences aren't obvious in print for a typical viewer.

I think Rovingtim was making a similar point about the E-30 vs the E-5 but there is always something not quite right in pushing post sharpening a bit too far, even if you work only on the lightness layer in LAB mode. But for art's sake the differences are marginal.

I had a recent (very successful!) gallery show of prints up to 20"x30" from the E-3. Got many comments about how "natural" the prints looked. Several people said they didn't realize at first they were photographs. They used terms such as "relaxed, smooth and inviting" to describe them. Several, including other photographers, thought they were from film, though the photographers said they were puzzled by the lack of film grain. They were surprised to hear they were digital. Several, including buyers, said they generally don't like prints from digital cameras because they are too "self-conscious" in that they have too much unnecessary detail, too obviously photographic, and too unpleasant to live with on the wall, even if initially striking.

Apparently the E-3 files out of the box have some inviting qualities in color and smoothness, even if they can be matched through calibration by any other camera.

And isn't that the real lesson about digital cameras? They are all massively adjustable and tweakable to get just about anything you want, as long as you first know what you want.

Well this was the curiosity, and I may give the EM5 another whack, but working from RAW it seems that is was actually more difficult than one would assume to match the colour, in the final file my browns had suffered slightly as I had tried to get the flower red in line. Whether the slight differences would matter in the final display is up to the individual.

I was working with global adjustments as I could probably do a bit more with local adjustments and get them closer, but that would require more work. Of course, aside from the same settings, I didnt try to adjust the camera settings to get the same final image.

It was an interesting experiment, and the only one I have ever done. A pity I didnt try to do it with the a850 and D90 when I had it (as I had similar FL lenses in all mounts a 100mm macro).

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Olympus E-3 Olympus PEN E-P2 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PL5 +20 more
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